|Love and Marriage
J. Carl Laney & Harriet Stewart
The next major period in the life of Carl Laney focuses on his wooing and marrying a
dark eyed beauty, Miss Harriet Stewart. The two then hit the road to raise and rear a family.
In the fall of 1908 John Laney moved his family to Spokane, Washington. Sallie and
the children took a passenger train to Spokane while John and his eldest son, Carl, took the
cattle on a freight train. Geraldine was just one-year old at the time of the move. Carl was
19 years old and a junior in high school. After getting the family settled in Spokane, John
returned to Ekalaka to finish up work at the ranch. He did not return to Spokane until the
spring of 1909.
Carl began attending South Central High School in Spokane. There he was destined
to cross the path of a young lady who would be his life's companion. One fine day Carl
walked into a physics class with his two sisters, Dollie and Marguerite. This handsome
young cowboy from Montana did not go unnoticed by Harriet Stewart, daughter of a
prominent educator. Upon being introduced to this lovely lady, Carl set his sights and began
to pursuea relationship which would eventually culminate in marriage.
In December, South Central High School sponsored a gala Christmas event, the
Junior-Senior reception. Carl seized the moment and invited Harriet. Later she recounted
that she wore a pink chiffon dress on this special occasion. Did that daring "Montana Kid"
steal a kiss from the cheek of Harriet that winter night? Knowing the romantic inclinations
of my grandfather, I would be surprised if he passed up such a chance. The evening marked
the beginning of a romance that would last a lifetime.
Harriet Eliza Stewart was the oldest daughter of Zechariah Stewart and Ida Ann
Jackson. Harriet was born in Plaza, Spokane County, on February 9, 1892. Her father
moved to Spokane in 1895 to take the position of County Superintendent of Schools. He
later became principal of Garfield School. Harriet's mother was a dress maker. The
Stewarts had four other children--Mabel Francis (11/2/1893), Donald Joseph (7/31/1895),
Mary Elizabeth (3/18/1898), and Margaret Ann (3/20/1900). The family lived at 1123
Maxwell in Spokane. The house still stands, although not in the best repair. Zechariah
(1864-1948) and Annie (1868-1962) are both buried at the Riverside Memorial Park
cemetery (N. 211 Government Way). Zech's epitaph reads, "Who loved his fellowman."
Annie's reads,"mother of noble heart, lover of truth and beauty."
On Friday, June 10th, 1910, Carl and Harried Marched together at commencement as
they graduated from South Central High School in Spokane. Two weeks after their
graduation, the school building was destroyed by fire. Now, Lewis and Clark High School
stands in its place.
After graduation, Carl and Harriet parted company for a time. Carl went
off to the University of Washington and lived with his uncle Arnon in Seattle. He tutored
his cousin Joe and earned 28 credits at the U. of W. as a student in Mining Engineering.
During the summer after his first year in college, Carl spent two weeks at an R.O.T.C.
military camp. A picture postcard dated July 7, 1911 shows the "Montana Kid" sporting an
Harriet spent the next year working as a clerk in the mail order department of
Spokane Seed Company. Carl recalls the rekindling of their special friendship. "A year or
so after high school graduation I returned to Spokane one bright spring day and some power
pulled me back to the Spokane Methodist Church where every Sunday the Laney family
worshipped. I wondered if she might be there and if would she have a smile for me. As I
mounted the church steps, I looked up to behold a vision as from heaven--an angel dressed
in white, greeting hands, flashing black eyes and a most heavenly smile that has endured to
this very day."
When Harriet graduated from high school she was not too interested in becoming a
teacher. Yet a year of working in the seed store changed her mind about teaching. In
September of 1911 Harriet left Spokane to enroll in a work-study program at the teachers'
college in Cheney, now Eastern Washington University. After a year of training at Cheney,
she would be eligible for two years of teaching. Harriet's first teaching opportunity was at
Freeman, Washington where she had 32 first graders. Her beginning salary in 1912 was
$60.00 a month. After the two years of practical experience Harriet returned to Cheney to
complete another year for her diploma. That year was interrupted in January when she took
a position at Vera, Washington. She went back for the summer session to complete her
While Harriet was teaching at Freeman, Carl was enrolled in a course of study in
mining at Spokane College. He would sometimes walk the railroad tracks to Freeman to
visit his sweetheart. Harriet remembers how Carl enjoyed taking her sleigh riding in the
nearby woods. He was a romantic at heart.
Carl spent his last two years of college (1913-1914 and 1914-1915) at Pullman.
When he entered Washington State College on September 17, 1913, he changed his major
from Mining to Animal Husbandry. According to a "Memorandum of Standing" issued on
April 30, 1914, Carl earned 28 credits at the University of Washington and 45 credits from
Spokane College. This gave Carl a total of 73 credits when he entered Washington State
Carl was not afraid of hard work, and he had to do quite a bit of it to make his way
through college. On March 6, 1913 he began work as a "mucker" (a lowly laborer) for the
Bunker Hill Sullivian Mining and Concentrating Company. The pay was $3.00 per day. He
must have proved to be a good worker, for by April 15, he was working with the surveyors.
The last two summers of his college years, Carl worked on a large hay ranch owned by his
Uncle Arnon on Crab Creek about 75 miles west of Spokane. Carl ran a bailing crew that
turned out 800 to 1,000 tons of bailed hay each season.
Carl graduated in June, 1915, from Washington State College in Pullman with a B.S.
degree in Agriculture. Upon graduation he sold a horse his mother had given him and
bought Harriet a diamond ring. His destiny was sealed!
Upon his graduation from Pullman, Carl accepted a job at the U.S. Livestock
Experiment Station on Kodiak Island, Alaska. The purpose of the project was to discover
whether a certain breed of cattle ("Galloway") could be raised in a cold climate. Knowing
what an isolated and lonely place Kodiak would be, Carl wanted Harriet to marry him and
accompany him to Alaska. But in order to complete the requirements for her Life Diploma,
Harriet had to spend another year in her work-study program. Her parents rather strongly
insisted that she complete the program. So Carl went to Kodiak alone. A boat came to the
island once a month and nobody on Kodiak was more interested in its arrival and the mail it
brought than Carl. During his spare time that winter he made some furniture. He enjoyed
wood working most of his lifetime. It was always fun to go the Granddad's and see what he
was making in his shop.
Harriet spent the year (1915-16) teaching 4th grade at Jefferson School in Spokane.
This fulfilled the requirements for her Life Diploma. She graduated from Cheney on May 25,
Carl knew that he couldn't survive another Alaskan winter alone. On June 15, 1916
he married Harriet, the girl of his dreams. The wedding took place at the Stewart's home,
1123 Maxwell Ave. The ceremony was performed by Dr. Cecil, who according to Carl's
records received an honorarium of $10.00 for his services. The flowers cost $3.00 and
Carl's hair cut was $.35. Mabel, Harriet's sister, played the wedding march on the piano.
About two weeks after the wedding, Carl and Harriet left together for Kodiak Island.
Their year on Kodiak Island was a wonderful year for Carl and Harriet. They enjoyed
the beauty of the northern lights and mystery of daylight at midnight. During that time they
established themselves as a couple. Separated from other friends and family members,
they learned to depend on themselves and their love for each other grew. Besides being a
good wife to her husband, Harriet found herself with a teaching job! There was a need for a
fourth grade teacher at Kodiak School, and Harriet was hired for the job until a permanent
teacher could be found.
Most of the Laney remember seeing the bear rug at Carl and Harriet's in Kennewick.
Carl shot that Kodiak brown bear during his first year of marriage in Alaska. He and Mr.
Sugget, principal of the Kodiak School, hired a guide and spent ten days in the wild tracking
down that bear. Carl paid $18.50 to the guide. Harriet received $20.00 for substituting for
Mr. Sugget while he was on the hunting trip. The bear rug, which cost $2.70 to ship back to
Washington, was not the only souvenir the Laney's brought home from Alaska.
There on Kodiak Island Harriet became pregnant with the first of five children. Far
from being an unpleasant experience, pregnancy was an enjoyable time for Harriet. He
writes, "To me it was one of the precious times, having her or him in my care for nine
months before anyone saw the little bundle of love." Since there was no doctor on Kodiak,
Carl concluded his work at the experimental station and brought Harriet back to Spokane
for the birth of their first child.
Harriet Eliza Stewart
Mabel Francis Ida Ann Zechariah Donald Joseph
Margaret Ann Mary Elisabeth
Carl courting Harriet. It was a love that would
last a lifetime!
Harriet (center) and her sisters, Mary and Mabel, bringing in wood.
Carl during his college days; on the right
between two friends.
Carl on the left
working as a
"mucker" in the
Carl on the right,
working on Uncle
Arnon's ranch on